BY MARK WEBER
Wildrose Party Leader Brian Jean made a Red Deer stop last week on his ‘On Your Side’ summer tour.
He attended a community barbecue in the afternoon of July 20th with a meeting that evening at the Black Knight Inn.
“Our job is more important today then it’s ever been in our history,” he told an enthusiastic audience of supporters regarding he and his MLA’s roles in the Alberta Legislature.
“The beautiful, wonderful Alberta that I knew is not the same Alberta the Wildrose sees today. It’s not the same Alberta you see today. And where it’s going, is in a different direction,” he said.
“It may seem like 10 years, but the NDP has only been in power for a year,” he added, noting the number of things that the current government has done which go against the essential principles of the Wildrose Party.
“If we are given the privilege of serving the people of Alberta in three years, I promise you we will do everything we possibly can to change the direction the NDP has gone and to bring back the Alberta Advantage right across the province.”
Jean pointed out how the NDP government is, “Drowning in debt – $58 billion dollars within three years. Four million people in Alberta, and we are going to have $58 billion in debt,” he said.
“What this does remind me of is the Alberta I lived through in the 1980s with the National Energy Program. I’m not prepared to see what happened in Fort McMurray happen in the rest of my province,” he said. “I saw businesses shutting down, I saw people losing their homes. Until you see someone losing their home, you don’t know how bad it can be.
“It’s happening in Alberta right now.”
Jean said it’s vital for a government to stay in touch with the people. “When you lose touch with the people, you lose the moral authority to govern,” he said. “That’s why we need to make sure on a consistent basis Wildrose reaches out – our MLAs, our activists and our presidents – and talks to you. Here’s your opportunity to tell us your priorities – here’s your opportunity to change the future of Alberta.”
He told the crowd that it was last fall that he started to try and move forward with uniting the right.
“I like to call it consolidating the conservatives,” he said. “I know there will be some questions around the room tonight, because there have already been questions today.
“But it’s not the most prevalent question I get – 90 per cent of the questions I get are about jobs and the economy. I was very happy to see that very recently politicians from right across Alberta are now beginning to follow the Wildrose lead – we’ve been talking about consolidating conservatives in this province for a year now.
“I challenged the members at our AGM last fall and again in conversations in December. I told them we need to forgive past transgressions. We need to forgive past things that happened between our party and other conservatives. We need to make sure that we have the opportunity to have discussions.
“We are prepared, because a third of our membership tell me they are interested in consolidating the conservatives,” he said. “We’re listening, and we are going to.
“And if we find we have a willing dance partner, we will dance.
“The most important thing is that if you are a Wildrose member, you know for certain that Wildrose will only do what you tell us to do. Wildrose members have the privilege of deciding the future of Wildrose.”
Conservative Calgary MLA Jason Kenney launched his ‘Unite the Right’ campaign recently.
Jean simply pointed out that some in the conservative camp are in favour of consolidating while others aren’t.
“I think what we need to do as Wildrosers is wait and see what the PC organization decide for themselves,” he said. “Once they decide who they are, I think then we can decide whether they are the dance partners we want for the future.
“Anyways, I will tell you the leader matters. And the leader they choose matters. And there are more than one (leaders) now apparently who are running for the PC leadership who are interested in consolidating the conservatives. That’s good news,